How to refer a child to the service

Your child can be referred by:

  • yourself (parents or carer)
  • a teacher
  • a health visitor
  • a nursery
  • a GP, or
  • another professional.

All referrals must be made using the Children and Young People's Therapy Service Referral Form, which you can download here. Please ensure you read our inclusion criteria and requirements for additional information detailed below before you submit your referral.

Sometimes we may decide on receiving a referral for your child that it is not appropriate or necessary for your child to be seen by our service. A letter will be sent explaining our reasons to the referrer.

A referral form contains personal and sensitive information so please make sure that the form is sent to us in a safe and secure way.

Please send the forms by post to:

Community Child Health Reservation Team
Children’s Assessment Centre
Kent and Canterbury Hospital
Ethelbert Road

Please note this is an administrative address only for the Children and Young People’s Therapy Services based in Ashford, Shepway and Dover/Deal and no child will be seen at the Children’s Assessment Centre at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital by our service.

If you have any enquiries about referrals, please telephone your local base at the numbers given on the Contact us page.

Our team will go through the form and the information you have given and choose the best way to help you and your child.

You will receive a letter or a phone call where you will be offered a time, date and place for your appointment. Your child may need a combination of more than one therapy, but that will be explained to you on your first appointment. Sometimes we may even suggest another service that we think can help you better.

For Professionals

When a child is referred to the service, they may need to be assessed by only one therapy or a combination of two or three. Our therapy staff will triage the referral and at that point will accept or reject the referral according to the therapy criteria. They will also decide who needs to see the child at their first appointment and the details of this are included in the appointment letter. Referrals that are identified as particularly urgent are fast-tracked while all other referrals are offered an appointment as soon as possible.

All referrals are made using the Children and Young People's Therapy Service Referral Form by post to the address above.

Additional information is required with most referrals see list below. If there is insufficient information on the referral form to make a clinical decision on the appropriate route to the service, the referral will be rejected with a request for more information.

For referrals to Kent Portage Service please complete the Portage referral form,

Children's Care Co-ordination Team

When you feel that a child would benefit from support from more than one health professional (including keyworks, Speech and Langauge Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and community Paediatrician), use this form to refer children to the NHS Chidlren's Care C-ordination Team (formeraly know as Early Support).  Form

Prior requirements to making a referral to OT/PT/SLT

Please check inclusion criteria plus:

Occupational Therapy:

Children with mild to moderate motor coordination difficulties affecting school progress are required to have participated in a structured motor programme (FIZZY, Jump Ahead) at school for a minimum of 50 sessions. Referrals will be returned where this is not the case. This must be evidenced on the additional information form - see below.

Speech and Language Therapy:

Nursery school staff are asked to complete the Nursery Communication Screening Assessment Form and attach it to their referral. Please identify the areas of difficulties and the strategies in place and evidence the impact of these strategies for two terms prior to the referral. 

Primary school staff are asked to complete the Language for Learning Quick Observation Based Assessment:  Speech, Language and Communication, identify areas of difficulty and implement relevant Language for Learning strategies for two terms prior to referral. On referral a rescreen of the assessment needs to be attached and the strategies which have been used evidenced on the referral.

All schools are asked to provide relevant Speech and/or Language Link screening assessments and attach the analysis to the referral. If the school do not subscribe to Speech/Language Link, please indicate this on the referral form.

Secondary Schools are asked to screen using the checklist, put strategies in place and evidence the impact of these strategies on the referral form.

Paediatricians and GPs are asked to describe the concerns in as much detail as possible on the referral form and what impact this is having on the child and family. We need information on the child's understanding, expressive language, speech production and social skills.

If English is an additional language for the child, please also complete the EAL additional information form below. 


Please check the inclusion criteria.

Inclusion Criteria

The following criteria are taken into account when considering referrals into the therapy service:

Speech and Language Therapy

  • Where a child needs speech and language support over and above the minimum core standards
  • Where a child has received additional targeted support in school or pre-school with limited progress and further specialist advice is required.
  • Where the extent of the language delay is significantly greater than any other area of developmental delay.
  • Where the child has additional language concerns over and above an ASD diagnosis.
  • Where the child presents as a selective communicator.
  • Where the child has no functional communication.
  • Where a child has feeding difficulties and is at risk of aspiration.
  • Where a child has oro-motor based feeding difficulties. This does not include children with behaviour based feeding difficulties.  
  • Where the child has a significant hearing loss which is impacting on their speech. language and communication development.

Occupational Therapy

  • Motor coordination difficulties with evidence of participation in a structured motor programme, e.g. Fizzy, Clever hands.
  • Concerns re: handwriting with the exception of secondary referrals specifically related to special circumstances for exams which will not be accepted
  • Evidence of impact of physical or neurodevelopmental issues on everyday activities.


A Physiotherapist will see children whose gross motor skills are affected by a number of different causes, including

  • Neuromuscular disorders e.g. muscular dystrophies
  • Neurological conditions e.g. cerebral palsy and head injuries excepting those requiring intensive rehabilitation for newly acquired/acute neurological conditions
  • Respiratory conditions e.g. cystic fibrosis
  • Rheumatological conditions e.g. juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Congenital disorders e.g. spina bifida, limb deficiencies
  • Orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions excepting those requiring intensive rehabilitation for newly acquired musculo-skeletal conditions or after procedures such as selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR).
  • Delayed movement development where this is significantly greater than any other area of developmental delay or where the child has an uneven profile of development.
  •  Conditions where mobility is affected e.g. oncology
  • Congenital syndromes where gross motor development is delayed significantly more than any other area of developmental delay or where the child has an uneven profile of development. Children with DCD (Developmental Co-ordination Difficulties) are assessed by Occupational Therapy
  • Children with motor difficulties excluding those solely related to obesity.  

Additional Information Required:

If you are a Health Visitor, teacher, a GP or another professional, please note which additional information is required. As a paediatrician or GP, if you are unable to provide this please state reasons on the referral providing as much information as possible.  Without the appropriate additional information the referral will not be accepted which will result in a delay in the child being seen.


If you are referring a child for Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy will not be asking for any additional information over and above the referral form but the service does need a clinic letter/report to accompany referral where one is available. Health Visitors are asked to include the Ages and Stages questionnaire. 

Occupational Therapy

If you are referring a child for Occupational Therapy assessment, please attach the Occupational Therapy Additional Information form (download from this link).

Speech & Language Therapy

If you are in a school and referring a child with speech, language and/or communication needs, you will need to attach the following:

Nursery: If you are in a pre-school and referring a child with speech, language, and/or communication needs, you will need to attach a completed Nursery Communication Screening Assessment  (download from this link).

Primary School: Quick Observation-Based Assessment Speech and Language and Communication Skills from the book Language for Learning in the Primary School. Sue Hayden and Emma Jordan available from: www.languageforlearning.co.uk (you cannot download this from this website).

Secondary School: Secondary Communication Checklist  (download from this link). Parent questionnaire. Expressive Language Sample and Comprehension Screen

Health Visitor: If you are a Health Visitor referring a pre-school child, please include the Ages and Stages Questionnaire.

Feeding and Drinking: If you are referring a child specifically for a feeding or drinking related concern then please attach a completed Feeding, Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Additional Information form  (download from this link).

Hearing Impairment: If you are referring a child with a recognised hearing loss please include with the referral form: A recent report including details of their hearing loss, eg Audiogram / ABR; Also include an indication on the referral form how the hearing loss is impacting their speech, language and communication skills.

EAL Additional Information Form - EAL additional information form

Completing the relevant forms will provide the therapist(s) with valuable information for planning the assessment.

We thank you for your time in completing these. If you have any queries relating to these forms please contact your local service for advice